10 Operations Management Books CEOs Read

In this article, we identify top books that inspire the CEOs of many world's leading enterprises and show you the list of operations management books to read.

Finding the Best Operations Management Books

Are you an operations management executive who is trying to learn how to use operations management tools and techniques? If so, we believe an operations management textbook is the ideal resource for you. However, if you're a busy operations leader who would like to formulate sound operations strategies, we believe you need different resources. But, what kind of OM book is used in the real world by successful and influential business leaders?

We conduct a search over the internet to find out if some business leaders and CEOs ever mention anything about the operations management books. We've found that there is a mix of both "classic" OM book and non-traditional OM book. In order to make a list of top books to read, we check how many times each book is cited by other publications (citation analysis) and we make the final cut accordingly.

The List of Operations Management Books are as below:

  1. The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu Goldratt and Jeff Cox

  2. Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan

  3. The Six Sigma Way: How to Maximize the Impact of Your Change and Improvement Efforts by Peter Pande et al

  4. The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande

  5. Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution by Michael Hammer and James Champy

  6. Competing Against Time: How Time-Based Competition is Reshaping Global Markets by George Stalk

  7. The Power of Resilience: How the Best Companies Manage the Unexpected by Yossi Sheffi

  8. The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail by Clayton Christensen

  9. Jack: Straight from the Gut by Jack Welch and John Byrne

  10. My Years with General Motors by Alfred Sloan

Interesting Statistics About Operations Management Books

You may notice that business books like project management, enterprise resource planning, lean manufacturing or books about operations research, production systems, process control or operations and decision sciences are not included in the list. The reason is that we believe they belong to other genres. Now let's see some interesting statistics of the books on our reading list,

- CEO's by Industry: according to our top list, 80% of the CEOs are from the manufacturing sector, which confirms the importance of operations management knowledge in a kind of business. The most important point is that even the CEO of one of the largest software firm in the world reads the OM book.

- Type of Contents: lean six sigma has gained lots of attention in the service industry so there is no surprise that the CEO of a banking company chooses to read the book by legendary six sigma advocate like Jack Welch.

Theory of Constraints and "The Goal" has been the best book for MBA. CEO of one the largest e-commerce site in the world uses this book to lay the foundation for the future of the company to improve performance.

The late CEO of a leading tech company recommended "The Innovator' Dilemma" to everyone. If you would like to create products and services that rock, this is definitely a book for you.

CEO of the world's leading express transportation company realizes the importance of risks in business operations so he recommended a book about resilient operations.

A CEO of leading tech firm believes in time-based competition. To create a company-wide adoption of this concept, he distributes the book "Competing Against Time" to his colleagues.

The co-founder of one of the biggest social networks in the world is known to distribute "The Checklist Manifesto" to new staffs.

- Number of Citations: we ranked the books about supply chain management using citation counts before. So we would like to know how well the OM book performs against the SCM book.

The results are mind-blowing! The classic book "Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution" by Michael Hammer and James Champy get citation 3 times higher than the best book in supply chain management.

- Year of Publication: every book mentioned here was published more than a decade ago. Are they still relevant to the modern business context?

What are your favorite operations management books?

- Sodhi, M. S., & Tang, C. S. (2008). The OR/MS ecosystem: Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Operations Research, 56(2), 267-277.

Last review and update: April 20, 2019

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About the Editor
Ben Benjabutr is the editor of SupplyChainOpz. He holds an M.Sc. in Logistics Management with 10+ years of experience in various functions in supply chain magement. In his free time, he enjoys reading business and management books. You can connect with him via Twitter, and Quora or drop him a line via e-mail.